Gareth Thomas settles £75k case with ex after being accused of hiding HIV status
Former Wales international Gareth Thomas has settled a legal case with his former partner after being accused of "deceptively" transmitting HIV.
Ian Baum sued Mr Thomas in the High Court for allegedly hiding his HIV status and “failing to take reasonable care” not to pass the infection on.
The ex-British and Irish Lions captain will now pay £75,000 plus legal costs to settle the case, which he stressed is "not an admission of liability or guilt".
He added that he maintains his innocence and the allegations against him were "meritless".
According to court papers, Mr Baum claimed he was HIV negative when he and Mr Thomas first became an item. The pair were in a relationship between 2013-2016.
He said the sportsman told him pills he was taking at the time were multivitamins but Mr Baum noticed that one of the tablets was marked GSK1. Mr Baum alleged it was only after researching 'GSK1' pills online that he discovered Mr Thomas had HIV.
Mr Baum said he “immediately” went to get a rapid HIV test and found out the same day that he was positive.
He claims he rang Mr Thomas, “who was very repentant and apologetic on the telephone”, for an explanation.
The court papers said: “By transmitting HIV to the claimant, the defendant has caused him serious physical and psychological injury.
“That information, had it become publicly known, would have been extremely damaging to the defendant’s public reputation as a person who had spoken out about his homosexuality and LGBTQ issues.
“Since that time the defendant has portrayed himself as a spokesperson for LGBT issues without ever revealing that he deceptively transmitted HIV to the claimant in 2014.
“The defendant knowingly lied to the claimant about his HIV status and had coerced the claimant into having unprotected sexual intercourse when he knew that by doing so he was putting the claimant at risk of contracting HIV.”
In a series of Tweets, Mr Thomas said that by reaching the settlement he was avoiding paying much more to defend himself in court.
He said: "In personal injury cases like this the accuser has no financial risks even if they lose, but for me winning had huge financial implications. Paying £75k plus costs now is nothing compared to the many multiples of that sum I'd have had to pay to successfully defend myself in court."
He described the closure of the case as a "hugely positive outcome" for his family and his own mental health.
McCue Jury and Partners, the legal firm representing Mr Baum, said in a statement: “Ian stood up for himself against the odds. Ian is looking forward to putting this unpleasant chapter of his life behind him.”
Mr Thomas made history in 2009 by becoming the world’s first openly gay rugby player.
Ten years later he revealed he was living with HIV. He now campaigns to raise awareness of the condition through the Terrance Higgins Trust charity, of which he is patron.